are narcissistic individuals who trumpet their alleged hypersensitivity as a
grandiose claim to uniqueness and victimhood. "Empath" is a nonsense
label hyped online but with zero clinical significance.
Everyone is possessed of empathy - even narcissists and psychopaths ("cold
empathy"). Everyone is, therefore, an "empath"
Admittedly, there are Highly
Sensitive Persons (HSPs) around: their empathy is so extreme that it renders
them "skinless": they cannot firewall others emotions and pain and
gets flooded and dystegulated. But HSPs are extremely few and far between - not
a dime a dozen. They are also utterly unlikely to expose themselves online:
they tend to be inordinately introverted, schizoid, and avoidant.
HSP is not to be confused with the
neurological condition Sensory Processing Sensitivity.
The online forums where self-styled
"empaths" congregate are cesspools of malice and dysempathy,
oneupmanship and spite, delusional fantasies and competitive, professional
victimhood. Based on anecdotal observations only, most "empaths"
strike me as collapsed or covert narcissists who had been out-narcissized and
abused by overt narcissists. Their self-imputed "sensitivity" is
merely a manifestation of narcissistic rage following a series of narcissistic
Gaslighting is often confused and
conflated with dissociation, confabulation, and dissonances. I should have
foreseen that when I borrowed the term and introduced it into wider discourse
in the 1990s.
Gaslighting: a deliberate strategy
of impairing the reality test of another person and rendering them dependent on
the gaslighter for critical cognitive functions, usually to assert control for
Dissociation: persistent amnesiac
gaps in memory which result in an incoherent and discontinuous sense of self
and inconsistent or contradictory thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of the same
attempts to create plausible - though often untrue - narratives to bridge over
dissociative memory gaps.
Dissonance: holding two mutually
exclusive and contradictory thoughts, emotions, and beliefs at the same time
(example: love-hate ambivalence).